The Cowichan Valley’s Jordan Dirom will soon be leasing a 22-acre farm with the assistance of the Young Agrarians and its B.C. Land-Matching Program. (Submitted photo)

The Cowichan Valley’s Jordan Dirom will soon be leasing a 22-acre farm with the assistance of the Young Agrarians and its B.C. Land-Matching Program. (Submitted photo)

Leasing farms opens opportunities for young Cowichan entrepreneurs

Land-link workshop to be held Dec. 1

Jordan Dirom can’t wait to begin work on a 22-acre farm he will soon be leasing near the Old Farm Market.

Dirom, who is originally from Port Hardy but has lived in the Cowichan Valley since he was 14 years old, has worked several full-time jobs in the area, but it has always been a dream of his to work the land on his own farm.

He said that passion welled up inside him when he was studying civil engineering with its emphasis on sustainability, and he saw the connection to food sustainability.

But Dirom said it’s very expensive to buy a farm, which typically calls for a lot of land, and that has been a disincentive for him to follow his dreams for years.

“Even buying a small farm of just about two acres would not produce enough profit to cover the mortgage these days, so I would still have to work elsewhere full time just to pay the bills,” he said.

In fact, the value of farmland on Vancouver Island leaped an astounding 21.7 per cent in 2018, the highest regional increase in Canada, according to Farm Credit Canada’s 2018 Farmland Values Report.

Then, almost two years ago, Dirom came into contact with the Young Agrarian organization, a grassroots organization for new and young farmers, and its B.C. Land-Matching Program.

With the future of farming hanging in the balance due to the high cost of real estate, the Young Agrarians began work in the Cowichan Valley in 2018 to ensure new farmers have access to land.

One of the focuses of the organization is to facilitate long-term lease agreements between landowners and new farmers ready to start farms through its B.C. Land-Matching Program.

About 74 per cent of existing farmers in B.C. say they will sell their farms within the next decade as they retire, and there’s a lot of complexities to new farmers trying to take over the land.

For farmland owners, the benefits of leasing out land to farmers may include tax incentives, scaling back on their own workload, new relationships, and, of course, farm-fresh products.

Meanwhile, many seasoned farmers are seeking to transition their land and farm to the next generation, and leasing land to a new farmer can be a step in that direction.

The Young Agrarians work to pair up the right pieces of land with the right people, and also offers programs to teach people how to farm.

Since the BC Land Matching Program was launched on Vancouver Island in Aug., 2018, a total of 15 matches have been made across the region, with eight in the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Those eight farms in the CVRD account for 55 acres of farmland.

RELATED STORY: CORN INTEGRAL PART OF COWICHAN VALLEY DAIRY FARMS

Dirom said he will begin leasing his farm once the owner, who has decided to move on from farming, vacates the property later this fall.

“I’ve got a very favourable lease, and it’s even cheaper than what I would have had with a mortgage on just one or two acres,” he said.

“It was a perfect opportunity and I also purchased some large-scale equipment, like a green house and an irrigation system, from the owner.”

Dirom said his main intent is to grow and market vegetables, and he’s interested in getting other people involved in the farm by selling them shares in his crops.

Dirom said that anyone else interested in having their own farm should contact the Young Agrarians and check out its land-matching program.

“I’ve been working with the Young Agrarians for some time to find the right place,” he said.

“I’d never discourage anyone from working hard to save money to purchase their own farm, but the ability to lease opens it up to a lot more people.”

The Young Agrarians will host a Land-Linking Workshop at Cowichan Station on Dec. 1.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN VALLEY AGRICULTURAL TECH COMPANY GOING INTERNATIONAL

Farmers interested in leasing out their land, and those interested in getting a lease, will have the opportunity at the workshop to network, talk leases, and learn about the land access services offered by the B.C. Land Matching Program, which is funded on Vancouver Island by the province, with support from the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. Landowners.

“Land-linking workshops are an avenue for farmers and farmland owners to meet their regional land matchers and access important resources and information about land agreements,” said Darcy Smith, program manager for the land-matching program.

“Our goal is to create an opportunity for people to network, and sign up new participants to receive on-going support through the B.C. Land Matching Program. The new farms created as a result of matches through the BCLMP provide an excellent opportunity to increase local food production and economic development while supporting new farmers.”

The local land link workshop will be held from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 1 at The HUB at Cowichan Station, 2375 Koksilah Rd.

The event is free, but donations to support 2018 programming are welcome.

For more information and to register, visit youngagrarians.org/landlinkcowichan2019, or call Vancouver Island land matcher, Azja, at 250-413-7560.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: It’s the highway’s fault!

One component of Vision Zero (our current road safety strategy) is highway design.

Moira Mercer spent her summer riding her e-bike around Cowichan Lake and beyond, collecting any empties she found along the way. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan 2020 in review — conclusion

What were your top stories from 2020?

Staff meetings can be difficult when everyone has his own agenda. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Garden additions at request of staff

I’ll sow the catnip in flats on the seed table inside

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson column: Snowballs fights and dead spiders

Even if it doesn’t end up how we hope, it’s the trying that matters most.

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree-planting life on Vancouver Island featured in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Most Read